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Russian trawler sinks in Barents Sea

The captain of a Russian trawler died when the ship took on water and sank Tuesday outside Bear Island in the Barents Sea. Eighteen other crew members were picked up by other Russian vessels in the area.

The Russian trawler ”Topaz-A” took on water and sank outside Bear Island in the Barents Sea Tuesday afternoon. According to the Rescue Coordination Center for Northern Norway, 18 of the crew were saved from the sea by another Russian trawler. The crew had already left for the lifeboats. The vessel’s captain died in the accident, NRK reports.

Two men suffering from hypothermia were sent to by the Svalbard Governor’s helicopter to the hospital in Longyearbyen on Svalbard, while the rest of the crew was sent to Hammerfest in Norway by boat.

A Norwegian Coast Guard rescue helicopter has been flying over the trawler’s last known position without spotting anything, so the trawler has probably sunk. The Norwegian Coast Guard vessel “Andenes” also took part in the rescue operation, Svalbard newspaper Svalbardposten reports.

Topaz-A” belongs to the company Murmansk Trawlfleet and is registered in Murmansk. The international rescue exercise “Barents Rescue-2009”, which takes place in Russia in September will amongst other topics focus on search and rescue at sea. Rescue workers from Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland will participate in the exercises.

Watch video about the accident here